C-store Chains Launch Free Meal Programs for Local Families in Need
NATIONAL REPORT — Multiple convenience store operators are lending a helping hand to those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As consumers face job losses, furloughs and reduced hours, retailers are kicking off programs to give away free meals to children and families during the crisis.
On April 3, each Daily's Dash location will provide 100 free care packages to aid customers who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. Each care package includes a pound of gourmet deli meat, a load of freshly baked bread from Village Bread, chips, sweet treats and more.
"This crisis impacts all of us, and it is in times such as these that our community can work together to lessen the impact that is being felt emotionally, physically, and economically," said Daily's President and CEO Aubrey Edge. "We know there are many who suddenly find themselves in need, and Daily's is committed to serving our community. Today we do so by giving to those families whose jobs and livelihoods have been impacted in a negative way."
The care packages will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no requirements to receive them.
"We only ask that if you are not in need, please leave the meal for those who are," Edge said. "Please find us at the designated table located outside the store entrance at each Daily's Dash location and follow social distancing guidance if there is a wait for service."
First Coast Energy's Jacksonville, Fla.-based Daily's convenience store chain operates 36 locations throughout the Sunshine State, with locations primarily in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Gainesville and Broward County. Daily's Dash locations are deli cafes featuring freshly carved, all-natural deli meats and cheeses.
LITTLE GENERAL STORES
On March 16, Little General Stores Inc. began giving away a variety of free meals to assist with the need for student lunches for children who are no longer in school. The Beckley, W. Va.-based convenience store operator is providing free meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through its Deli and Sam's Hot Dog Stand locations, as well as these branded foods:
- Two tacos from any Little General-owned Taco Bell;
- A classic roast beef and kid's fry from any Little General-owned Arby's;
- A free slice of pizza from any Little General-owned Godfather's Pizza;
- A cheeseburger and kid's fry from any Little General-owned Burger King; and
- A six-inch turkey, black forest ham cold cut or veggie sub from any Little General-owned Subway.
The retailer has given away more than $18,000 worth of free lunches and counting as of April 3.
Little General operates more than 100 c-stores in West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio.
MIRABITO ENERGY PRODUCTS
Mirabito Convenience Stores are offering free lunch options to all school-age children in its rural communities. Every weekday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., students can visit participating Mirabito stores for a free slice of cheese pizza or peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a roll.
Participating stores are located at:
- 15503 Route 8, Masonville, N.Y.
- 491 Main St., Franklin, N.Y.
- 1028 Main St., Hobart, N.Y.
- 15863 Route 23, Davenport, N.Y.
- 49 Genesee St., Cherry Valley, N.Y.
- 180 Main St., Unadilla, N.Y.
- 1 E. Main St., West Winfield, N.Y.
- 195 County Route 48, Otego, N.Y.
- 1103 Danby Road, Ithaca, N.Y.
- 205 N Main St., Afton, N.Y.
- 2341 State Route 28, Oneonta, N.Y.
The retailer is also offering free coffee to all healthcare workers and first responders.
Based in Binghamton, N.Y., Mirabito owns and operates more than 100 c-stores throughout central New York.
Sheetz Inc. is launching a new Kidz Meal Bagz program to provide free food to children and families in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting April 2, the Meal Bagz will be available all day and include a turkey sandwich, chips and a drink.
Families interested in taking advantage of the program should go to participating Sheetz c-stores and ask an employee at the cash register for a meal. Families will be offered one bag per child.
Kidz Meal Bagz will be available daily while supplies last.
"The spread of COVID-19 and subsequent school closures has left many children across the communities we serve without a reliable food source," said Travis Sheetz, president and chief operating officer of Sheetz. "It is our hope Sheetz's Kidz Meal Bagz program will make a small difference and provide nourishment to those in need during these uncertain times."
The program will run for two weeks and then be reevaluated based on community need. A list of the 294 participating locations is available here.
Altoona-based Sheetz operates 600 c-stores throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina.